You guys/gals are so funny. Do you happen to know that MS was -actually- found guilty of violating antitrust laws, exactly in the US? And the reason was exactly the tie-in of IE with Windows? At the time the situation was so serious that there were even talks of splitting MS up, etc. Then, suddenly, Bush came into power, the Justice Department was changed, apparently filled with MS friends, and it all went to nothing. Just a slight slap in the wrist. Thus, a convicted fellon came out unscathed.
Since this US procedure took quite a long time, there’s reason to say that the US gov spent millions, ultimately for nothing. Not the same with the EC. MS has already been fined in excess of 1 billion Euros, for previous wrongdoings in other areas. So, you can rest assured that MS has already paid considerably to the European coffers. This browser tie-in thingy is on its initial stages so, for those worried with the EC spending money, I’m sure they can take a little bit from the funds MS already contributed.
As for the assertions that MS should be forced to do this and not forced not to do that, people, the rules which apply to the common companies don’t apply to companies when they are monopolies. Is that so hard to understand? There are clear laws which state that a monopoly cannot use its monopoly position to leverage its other products. You might argue that, then, those laws are wrong, etc, something I strongly disagree with. But the laws are these and MS is, allegedly, performing unlawful activities. If you break the law you are punished. That’s as simple as that.
I also see that most of you probably don’t know in detail the story of IE’s tie-in with Windows. The dirty tactics that were employed. The harm it caused to competition, to the Web and, therefore, to the consumer. For example, most virus/trojans, etc, were shoved down people’s throats because, by illegally tieing-in IE with Windows and introducing piss poor technologies like ActiveX. After starting with a meagre market share, IE jumped to a monopoly position, acquiring well over 90% of the market. Therefore, apart from other unfortunate situations, what happened? MS simply stopped development of IE, which was stuck with IE 6 for a very long time. IE’s development team was disbanded and they just kept releasing bugfixes for years and years and years. See what a monopoly does to innovation? It just kills it. If you think this is good for you, great, even if I pity your judgement.